THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 7-15-07
LESSON TITLE: "THE ARMOR OF A SOLDIER OF GOD: HAVING GIRDED YOUR WAIST WITH TRUTH"
Good morning! Thank you for joining us today for The Living Word. I hope everyone had a great week. And I hope you are ready to begin this new week with a day of service and offering to your God.
As always, it is our commitment through this program to proclaim the simple truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - which is confirmed for us in the Bible. I hope you all have your Bible's handy and I hope you are ready to worship God together as we sing praises to His name and study from His wondrous word. Now let's begin by talking to our Father in prayer!
Let me take just a moment this morning and encourage you to attend a gospel meeting at the Oldfield Church of Christ. It will begin tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. and go through next Sunday. We hope you are able to visit with this fine congregation and if you need further information feel free to contact us and we will be glad to assist you.
Well, it's time to again join in with the congregation in songs of praise. Our next hymn is, "His Grace Reaches Me."
(SONG # 1)
In the first verse of the Bible, Moses emphatically introduces us to the God of all creation as he proclaimed, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." In this important statement we are not only introduced to the creator of all, but here we also see the origin of all things.
In fact, Moses answers many questions for us as he uses the same proofs that many of our scientists would use today. First he clarifies the "time" this event happened," by stating in the beginning." He then answers the, "Who" of the matter, when He says God. Next, he tells us what God did in the verb, "Created." And finally he confirms for us what God created by saying, "the heavens and the earth."
However, Moses is not alone in this thought, notice what the Psalmist so elegantly wrote in chapter 90, verses 1 & 2, of his book. There it says, "LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God."
Furthermore, remember what John said in John 1:1-4. There we read, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men."
Finally, notice what Paul said in Ephesians 3:8-9, concerning his ministry for God. The Bible says, "To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;"
The fact is the Bible and it's inspired authors readily confirm the fact there is a God and that He is the creator and giver of all. But still, many today reject God and choose not to obey Him or follow His will!
We are happy to have brother Darin Chappell with us today as our speaker of the morning. Brother Chappell is an instructor at the Bible Institute of Missouri. We thank him for being with us.
Today, we will be continuing our series of study concerning "The Armor of a Soldier of God." Our specific lesson today will deal with, "Having Girded Your Waist With Truth." So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together our guest speaker of the day will return with this study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn, "Let Jesus Come Into Your Heart!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Darin Chappell
As we continue together in our study concerning the armor of God, we come to the part at the beginning where Paul begins to express the different parts of the armor of God and explains to us how it is that they are to be used. The context in which Paul does this is somewhat unique because the apostle Paul at the time of this writing, this Ephesian letter being one of the so-called "prison epistles" written somewhere around 62 or 63 AD The apostle Paul was actually in prison. He was imprisoned in a house which he had to pay for in the city of Rome and he was changed to Roman soldiers, one possibly two at a time, to keep him there so that he could appeal to Caesar as he had asked to do back in Caesarea some years before. The apostle Paul, therefore, as he was writing this passage in Ephesians chapter 6 verses 10-17, we find that he was chained to a Roman soldier and used this Roman soldier in his armor as a visual aid by literary use. He did this not only because he was directly next to a Roman soldier, but also because the brethren at Ephesus and indeed all around the world knew exactly what a Roman soldier looked like. In fact, brethren at Ephesus, Ephesus being a city which was a Roman outpost, they saw Roman soldiers on a daily basis, and to be able to see the different armor parts mentioned by the apostle Paul and explain and apply it in a spiritual way as he did, it gave them a sense of understanding what it was that they were to do as they put on the spiritual armor of God. The apostle Paul breaks it down exactly as a Roman soldiers armor was found to be used in the 1st century and it is within that context and within that understanding that we approach our study this morning, as well.
Therefore, in Ephesians chapter 6, verse 14, the apostle Paul says that, "We are to stand therefore." The idea of standing here that is given to us is the same concept that we have after a massive storm, perhaps a hurricane down on the Gulf Coast. After the storm has blown through, those things that were able to withstand the storm are left standing. The standing there is not to be mired in and unable to move, unyielding in the sense of being able traditionalistic, but the idea that after Satan has thrown everything that he can at us and after the trials and tribulations have come upon us, we are left standing because the armor of God that we have put on. He says, "Stand therefore," and we are to do this "having our loins girded about with truth."
Now the idea the apostle Paul has here about the loins or the mid-waist or the section of the mid-part of the body, girded about with Truth is the idea that Paul had with the Roman soldiers armor of having the girt strap which was just a leather strap 3 or 4 inches in width that was used around the waist of a Roman soldier. This belt, this girt strap had loops of leather all the way around it. What that did was it provided the opportunity for all the different parts of the armor to be tied in to that one central girt strap, and it allowed the entirety of the armor to be tied in such a way that it would not move. So then when a Roman soldier would go into battle and he would swing a sword or throw a spear or raise his shield, his armor would not shift from side to side and it would stay in place and protect his body as it was designed to do. He has a breastplate which is going to be discussed by another speaker later on. But he has a breastplate which is tied in. And if it were not so tied in and he swung a sword, well then the breastplate would shift to the side and expose a large portion of his body to be able to be attacked by the enemy. Therefore, this girt, this leather belt with all of these loops was the centralizing anchor. It was what provided the stability for all the remainder of the armored soldier. Without it, it didn't make any difference how durable the shield or the breastplate or how sharp the sword or how true the spear might be, without that stabilizing factor of that girt strap none of them could withstand the test and none of them would provide the stability and security that the soldier needed in the time of battle. Therefore, the apostle Paul says that, "The Christian is to stand, withstand the battle, withstand the difficulties that are brought upon us by Satan and to do so by having our loins, our mid-section girded about with Truth."
Now Truth is a concept which many people talk about and very few people from a Biblical perspective actually fully understand. We tend to confuse concepts with Truth and true. We talk about things that are merely true as though they were the Truth. Let me give you a brief example of what I'm talking about. There are things in the Bible which are absolutely true, but are not the Truth. For example, there in the Garden of Eden, we are told there in Genesis chapter 3 that, "Satan came before Eve and told here that she would not surely die if she partook of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, that she would not surely die, but instead become wise like God." Now it is true that he said that and it is recorded for us and that is true that he did do that in the Garden of Eden, but what he said was not Truth. Truth is that which never changes, that which never is altered in any way. It is true that different laws of God have been applied to man throughout the world. We find it back in the Old Testament in the Patriarchal days before the flood that Noah was commanded to build an ark for the saving of he and his household. It is true that that was done, but the Truth that was behind that true statement that he did that is that man is to support God in everything that He says and does by submitting to His Will in every facet of his life. It is true that the Law of Moses was given to the children of Israel and they were to sacrifice animals as they were given to do, that they were to go, all the men of Israel were to go to Jerusalem three times a year for the Passover, the Day of Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles. All those things are true that that was applied to them, but the truth is that no matter what law is, no matter what law has been given to an individual, he is amenable to that law and must submit himself to it as fully as he is physically capable of doing. Truth never changes in the Bible. The Truth, the underlying general principles that uphold the law and the true statements of the law, that truth never alters, never changes. The laws change. The laws are given to man. They are taken out of the way whether it was the Patriarchal Law or the Mosaic Law for the children of Israel or the Law of Christ, but the underpinning Truth of God's Word and that determination that mankind must only and always submit himself to God, that Truth never changes, has never altered and will never, ever fail.
That is the Truth about which the apostle Paul is writing here when he says that, "That is to be the underpinning of our armor of God as we stand in the fight against Satan and against evil we must be wrapped around with the Truth of God's Word." Now Truth in the New Testament is something which is exceptionally important to us all. We find that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said in John chapter 8 and verse 32 that, "We shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make us free." The interesting thing about that is when he says that we shall know the Truth, he implies emphatically that the Truth is indeed knowable, that we can seek it out. We can find it. It's not something which is mystical and ethereal and it can't be known and your truth is as good as my truth and our truth is as good as someone else's. There is a status concept of Truth that is given in the Word of God, and we can know what that Truth is. We can understand it. It is reasonable. It is rational. It is logical. It can be understood, and it can be applied to the lives of men and women in the world today. We can know the Truth and that Truth can and should set us free if we will submit to it, if we will live our lives day by day seeking out that which we can do to be pleasing in the sight of God, if we will seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew chapter 6 and verse 33). We can know the Truth and it shall make us free. We can understand what it is that our God would require of us that we can be His people.
Furthermore, when Jesus was praying there to the Father in John chapter 17 and verse 17, He said, "Father, sanctify them through thy Truth." Then He goes on to identify what that Truth is. He said, "Thy Word is Truth." We are sanctified, that is we are set apart from sin for the purpose of God and this is accomplished by the Truth of God's Word. It's not simply a list of do's and don'ts, thou shalts and thou shalt nots. That's not what the Bible is. It is an expression of God's mind to man in a fashion in which we can understand. It is given to us so that we can understand it, so that we can apply it and so that we can live by it. When we do live by the Word of God, it sanctifies us. It sets us apart. It makes us different from the rest of the world. Thereby, we can express ourselves as His children. That's what the apostle Paul was saying there in Romans chapter 12 verses 1-2 that, "He would have us to be living sacrifices proving what is that good and acceptable and perfect Will of God that we might be found acceptable in His sight."
We are given the opportunity to be His children and sanctified and set apart by the Truth which never changes, His Word, the Truth of God. Of course, it is because God is centered upon the concept of Truth that He Himself is Light or Truth as we see in 1 John chapter 1 verses 5-9 that that's the reason we must approach Him in Truth. John chapter 4 and verse 24, we are told that "God is Spirit and we must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth." It's not enough to simply feel right when we worship our God. It's not enough to simply have the right intentions. It's not enough to simply want to seek out what makes us feel comfortable. We must try to worship our God with all of our mind and all of our soul and all of our heart according to the Truth of His Word, to appeal to Him in our worship according to the standard that He set forth, that Truth which never changes, which never alters, and which can never leave us so long as we appeal only and always to the Word that He has given us.
The fact of the matter is that we have the opportunity to be His children because of the Word that He has given us. We can hear the Word of God, and by that faith comes (Romans chapter 10 verse 17). We can believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and be willing to confess Him as the Son of God (John chapter 8 verse 24 and Matthew chapter 10 verses 32-33). We can be willing to repent of our sins, turn away from the ways of this world and be sanctified by the Truth of God according to what we are told in Acts chapter 17 and verse 30. This is accomplished by being baptized, that is to be immersed in water for unto the remission of our sins (Acts chapter 2 and verse 38) so that we can be added to the church that Jesus built and purchased with His own blood (Acts chapter 8 verse 12 and Acts chapter 20 verse 28). We have that opportunity because of the Truth of God's Word and then as Christians we have the opportunity and indeed the responsibility to live faithfully up to and including the point of our deaths (Revelation chapter 2 verse 10). That is, we must live our lives according to the Truth, the pattern of God's Word every day in every facet of our lives, seeking how it is that we might be better, more faithful servants in the kingdom of God, and appealing to Him in everything that we say and do.
There in 1 John chapter 1 verses 5-9 again we are told that, "God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all." That is, He is Truth and in Him there is no untruth. If we are to be with God, we must be with Him where the Light is, in Truth. We must be living our lives day by day seeking to become closer and closer to our God, seeking to strive further and further away from the world. Far too many individuals want to be Christians and want to be considered as such, but they also want to be as close to the world as they possibly can be. That's not what God requires of us. That's not what He expects of us. He requires and expects that we get as close to Him as we can possibly be. He is Truth and we are to be girded with that Truth. We are to have that as the basis of our living. We are to have that as the basis of our identity that we can be found and seen as His faithful children of God, that we can express by our day by day living to all those around us what it means to be a soldier for Christ in the warfare against that which is evil, that which is spiritual, that which is contrary to the Truth, the standard of right and wrong found in God's own True Word.
I thank you very much for your time this morning.
(SONG # 3 - "Love Lifted Me!")
What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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Have you clothed yourself with the Truth of God? For through Jesus Christ we can know the truth which gives us freedom in this life, as well as eternal life in the near future.